A precious gilt bronze statue of the guanyin was recently returned to China after a purchase from an American collector.
After four years of tracking it down, the national treasure that was taken overseas 80 years ago is finally coming home.
The style of the image was quite different from it of Tang and Song Dynasty, which existed the same period in history in central and north China. It does, however, look similar to those from Southeast Asia. It is the earliest guanyin statue found in Yunnan Province, and is honored as the "mascot of Yunnan."
Four years ago, the local cultural relics department got the clue about the statue's whereabouts. From the UK to the United States, Chinese cultural experts finally bought back the antique from an American collector for 1.59 million yuan.
Such a value can be justified because the image of Acarya Avalo-kites-vara was the most important deity and was deeply worshiped by the rulers and the people of the Nanzhao and Dali Kingdoms some 1000 years ago.
At their pinnacle, the reigns of these kingdoms spanned Southwest China's Yunnan, Guizhou, and Sichuan Provinces, as well as North Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam.
And this half-meter high bronze miniature, which weighs in at three kilograms, is exquisite enough to stand out from the other less than 20 statues found in the world.
Now the statue is settled down in Dali Museum and displayed for public admiration.